UN chief and UK prime minister step up pressure on leaders to secure climate change funds

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 20 (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged leaders of major world economies, including the United States, to meet their commitments to a $ 100 billion a year climate fund within six weeks a United Nations climate summit.

Johnson and UN Secretary-General António Guterres hosted a world leaders roundtable on Monday to address major gaps in emissions targets and climate finance.

“Too many large economies – some represented here today, others not present – are lagging too far behind,” Johnson said. “I’ll stress it once again – for this to be successful, we need the developed countries to find that $ 100 billion.”

The closed-door meeting during the annual high-level week of the United Nations General Assembly includes leaders and representatives from a few dozen countries representing industrialized countries, emerging economies and vulnerable developing countries.

Those involved in the roundtable included the United States, China, India, EU countries as well as Costa Rica, Maldives and a mix of developing and middle income and industrialized countries.

Johnson told reporters he hoped the United States could keep its promise to increase its share of money to meet the annual $ 100 billion target, but “we’ve been here before” and “we don’t. let’s not count our chickens “.

US climate envoy John Kerry, who represented the United States at Monday’s meeting, said Washington would provide more climate assistance before Oct. 31-Nov. 12 COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

“The United States is critically important,” Johnson said. “It will send an extremely powerful signal to the world.”

Guterres told reporters after the roundtable he had heard “encouraging statements” about raising financial support to help developing countries cope with climate change.

A UN official described the talks as “brutally honest” about the summit’s expectations and that there was “a collective feeling of ‘we are in trouble'”.

OFF ROAD

The roundtable discussion aimed to ensure a positive outcome at the conference, although reports show that major economies are far from meeting their emissions reduction targets and climate finance commitments.

A UN analysis of countries’ commitments under the Paris climate agreement released on Friday showed global emissions to be 16% higher in 2030 than they were in 2010 – far the 45% reduction by 2030 which scientists say is necessary to avoid disastrous climate change.

Another report released Friday by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says rich countries likely missed their target of contributing $ 100 billion last year to help developing countries cope with climate change after rising funding of less than 2% in 2019.

Guterres also lobbied donor countries and multilateral development banks to show progress towards his goal of increasing the share of funding spent on helping countries adapt to climate change to 50%. from the current level of 21%, said Selwin Hart, Guterres’ special advisor on climate action.

A report released on Monday by Oxfam estimated that wealthy governments will continue to miss the $ 100 billion target and only hit $ 93 to 95 billion a year by 2025 – five years after the target should have been be reached, depriving climate-vulnerable countries of $ 68. billion dollars and $ 75 billion in total over the six-year target period.

Simon Stiell, Minister for Climate Resilience of Grenada, said that in the weeks leading up to the summit, pressure is being placed on the G20 group of the world’s largest economies to step up its national targets to reduce emissions. emissions and its commitments to mobilize international climate assistance.

“If you look at the role the G20 plays in the global discussion, they generate 80% of global emissions and constitute 85% of global GDP. They have the wealth and the technology to act,” he said.

Action by G20 countries can “move the needle” in terms of meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement, Stiell said.

Guterres told Reuters in an interview last week that the divide between developing and developed countries puts the summit in danger of failure.

“There is still a level of mistrust, between north and south, developed and developing countries, that needs to be overcome,” Guterres said.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations and Valerie Volcovici in Washington; Additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper in London; Editing by Mary Milliken and Grant McCool

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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